WeeklyTech #171

Big news for the Thacker family

As many of you likely saw this past Friday, Boyce College and Southern Seminary announced my recent appointment as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Ethics. I am thrilled to join this faculty as we seek to train up the next generation for more faithful service in the Church and around the world. I have been teaching at Boyce as an adjunct instructor since 2021 and have fallen in love with the classroom, especially with the students and their passion for Christ. My family will be relocating to Louisville in April before my official start date of June 1st.

My primary responsibilities will consist of teaching courses in ethics and moral philosophy as well as worldview and philosophy proper. This fall, I am scheduled to teach introduction to ethics, worldview analysis, and religion in the public square. In these classes, we learn about and discuss the primary role that ethics plays in the Christian life and how we are to live out our faith authentically in every sphere of life — whether individually, in our homes, in our workplaces, and especially in the public square where so many consequential ethical questions are asked today.

Alongside this appointment, I will continue to serve as a fellow in Christian ethics here at the ERLC and help direct our research institute which is made up of over 50 fellows from across Southern Baptist life. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve Southern Baptists in this ongoing capacity through the ERLC. This practically means that I will continue to host the Digital Public Square podcast and this newsletter, as well as the ongoing long term research projects we have been working on. These projects include a planned volume on a distinctly Baptist vision for social ethics, projects concerning the rise of generative AI and technology, and my ongoing research in a Christian understanding of human rights, especially questions about a right to privacy.

I am really grateful for the entire ERLC leadership team, especially to our newly installed ERLC president Brent Leatherwood and our board of trustees, for the trust and opportunities afforded to me over these last 9 years. My family is eager to dive into this new role in the Boyce College and Southern Seminary campus community as well. I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in this next season through the ERLC and at Boyce College.

The Rundown

The Moral Meaning of Loving One’s Neighbor by Andrew T. Walker | Christ Over All

Few biblical phrases are as ubiquitous or have greater cultural standing than the biblical teaching to “love your neighbor” (see e.g., Matt. 19:19; 22:39). For the non-Christian, it may be the only moral truism he or she could identify as stemming from a cultural heritage informed by the Bible.

Microsoft just laid off one of its responsible AI teams by Zoë Schiffer and Casey Newton | Platformer

Microsoft laid off its entire ethics and society team within the artificial intelligence organization as part of recent layoffs that affected 10,000 employees across the company, Platformer has learned. 

Judge Cites 1849 Slavery Law in Ruling Embryos Can Be Considered Property by Christine Hauser | NYT

A Virginia judge relied in part on a 19th century law that defined enslaved people as property in a recent decision to allow a divorced woman to pursue using embryos that she shared with her former husband — a ruling that has drawn criticism.

OpenAI releases major new chatbot engine by Ina Fried | Axios

The world is already enamored with ChatGPT, which is based on an earlier version. Improvements could go a long way to addressing criticisms of the hot new chatbot-powering tool about its errors and other shortcomings.

Chinese tech giant Baidu just released its answer to ChatGPT by Zeyi Yang | MIT Technology Review

On Thursday, Robin Li, Baidu’s cofounder and CEO, took the stage in Beijing to showcase the company’s new large language model, Ernie Bot. Accompanied by art created by Baidu’s image-making AI, he showed examples of what the chatbot can do, including solve math questions, write marketing copy, answer questions about Chinese literature, and generate multimedia responses. 

‘We are a little bit scared’: OpenAI CEO warns of risks of artificial intelligence by Betsy Reed | The Guardian

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company that developed the controversial consumer-facing artificial intelligence application ChatGPT, has warned that the technology comes with real dangers as it reshapes society.